CLEVELAND -- No injury hurt Tim Couch as much. No loss has been as tough for him to forget.
When Couch was stripped of his job as the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback a few weeks ago, his world briefly crumbled. He had not been a backup since his first game as a rookie, and the 1999 No. 1 overall draft pick did not handle the demotion very well.
But time has helped, and Couch has finally come to terms with his new role as Kelly Holcomb's backup.
"It's never an easy thing," he said. "But this is where I am and I'm going to do the best I can with it. I just realized there is no reason to go through this season miserable," he said. "Even though it's a tough time, you've got to be upbeat and you have to be positive and you have to do what's best for the team.
"This team isn't about how I feel."
Instead of practicing with the first-team offense, Couch is on the sideline watching Holcomb hand off to William Green and fire passes to Kevin Johnson as the Browns prepare for their opener Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
Couch isn't in this week's game plan. The Browns are Holcomb's team now. They have been since Cleveland coach Butch Davis decided to go with his "gut feeling" by making Holcomb his starter.
"I have to be ready," Couch said. "If something happens to Kelly, I'm going to come in and we're going to win."